Monday, September 13, 2010

Some Notes on Making Movies by Mango Momma

Just words here (along with some educational movies). Actually, an unusually large number of words.

First off, is something wrong with my comment thingamabob? I am getting tons of repeated comments. Hmmm...

Several readers have asked about my movie music and so I am going to share some secrets. First and foremost, I am a true believer in copyright laws. They are there for a reason. So that artists can make enough money to continue to practice their trade. If it is on your iThing, you probably do NOT have rights to use it in your movies and if you have music on a CD you DEFINITELY shouldn't use it, so DON'T! ARG!


My videos either have the music that came with my computer or I use the music that Kevin MacLeod has generously posted for royalty free use (and every so often I will purchase a single use tune from the internet). If you use Mr. MacLeod's music, PLEASE follow these rules;

  1. Send him some money! He has a link on his site for making contributions to his craft. He doesn't ask for much and is very talented and gracious to share his creations. If you had to pay to use music it would be much more expensive, so support him by popping him some money now and then.
  2. Always give him credit. Always, always, always. If you use his music, then put an attibution in your video.
  3. Some readers have mentioned issues with downloads from Mr. MacLeod's site. I can't help there because I always just click the download button and it appears like magic on my computer (even on my PC).
The link to his website is here.

Now, on to coordinating soundtracks. First off, I use iMovie on my Macintosh which makes things a whole lot easier. I used to use the free movie making application that came with my PC. That was a big pain, but it can do most of the things the mac does if you persist. In general, I find googling queries about applications provides better solutions than using online help when it comes to the PC.

  1. When I am working on a movie I video EVERYTHING. Never know what you will use and "boring" shots of faces, scenery, whatever can sometimes be useful.
  2. After watching the raw footage, I usually toss about 50% of it on the editing floor, and patch together whatever clips make a good story.
  3. On most movies I disable the primary soundtrack since the background noise is quite loud at the estate (turnpike sounds) and some of the movies (gasp) have telltale audio of me giving commands or imploring the dogs to get into their positions.
  4. I look for music of appropriate style that is approximately the same duration as the video.
  5. If the music is off by a bit, I will typically edit down the movie to fit the music. Hehehe.
  6. If the music is too long, but has a good pause point, there is a feature in iMovie that lets you manually edit the soundtrack. This can be tricky to use and I typically use the online help every time I do it.
  7. As a last ditch thing if the music is too long, I can select a fade out option from iMovie that at least lets the soundtrack end gracefully.
One other thing I have learned over the years is that shorter is usually better with videos. While I find footage of my own dogs endlessly fascinating, I will admit that my attention span for watching other dog movies is about 2 minutes tops.

I watch my videos a lot prior to posting and tweak them, but it is an art that I am still working on (I also usually write my posts a few days in advance so that I can revisit them and tighten up the words). I continue to find it difficult to edit out pieces that I just love and sometimes leave stuff in because I want to see it, but usually I will just keep cutting and cutting. The only time I add stuff back in is to occasionally stretch something out to fit the music.

Readers might be shocked to learn that sometimes I (gasp) show events in a slightly different order than they actually occurred (for dramatic effect). For example, during Dexter's recent swim he spent almost 30 painful seconds sitting on the pool steps watching the ball float away before he finally jumped in after it. Here is the original clip (you can hear my neighbor volunteering to get the ball for him, and big meanie me telling her not to)...

Rather than just showing that, I put little bits of it throughout the movie with the punch line at the end. More exciting, like a subplot almost, right? If you want to refresh on the final product, you can watch it here.

Hey! It's a movie, OK? Entertainment and whatnot.

As an instructive example, I have created two movies for you just today (which is actually yesterday by now). The subject? The weekly nommy meaty bones. What could be more exciting than a movie of dogs chewing on bones, right?

First I'll show you the totality of the raw footage that I shot. BORING! You will hear shameless coaxing on my part to get a brief shot of Mango's tail wagging (not to mention the persistent background noise of the turnpike). Mango got distracted by some visitors to the barn and temporarily abandoned his chewie (keep that in mind). Slightly over TWO mind numbing minutes. Ish. Watch it here.

Now, for the exciting version! Just under one minute, add a few subtitles, take some liberties with the sequence of events, and a happy soundtrack and voila! Watch it here. Notice music fade out at the end. It was a tad too long and I could have adjusted the start point, but I thought some of the pauses and changes in the music lined up so nicely with the video that I didn't want to alter the timing.

I owe all the cool graphics and effects to iMovie. I am totally a Macintosh fan having never regretted spending the extra bucks a couple of years ago to replace my tired PC with a MAC. I know they seem expensive, but amortized over the life of the system, it isn't all that much more and EVERYTHING is so much easier. Plus if you are lucky enough to have an actual Apple store nearby (like I do), they are always happy to spend as much time as you need helping you figure things out. Those Apple nerds seem to really love their jobs and their products.

As a bonus, here is my very firstYouTube post. I love this movie because you get to see Raja playing soccer (her favorite thing in the world) plus Angus and Baby Mango. Poor old Angus was near the end of his life at this point and you can see how tired he looks. The movie was made with a disposable video camera (have mercy).

If you want to see a longer movie of Raja playing soccer you can watch it here. The movie is kind of flat, but her skills were impressive. She taught herself and it was her greatest joy.

Hope that helps. If you want any other info, you can peemail me at backupdog AT comcast DOT net.

Mango Momma

P.S. OK, one photo... an oldie with me, Raja, Angus, and Baby Mango (he's that black puddle of dog to my left).


Anonymous said...

mango Momma, I totally LOVE that last photo. Boy Raja was totally athletic! she was like kick-run-kick-run-kick-run...

look at "wee mango" there... little did he know he would become RELENTLESSLY HUGE!

Sunshade said...

OMG I'm first!!! Ok, I think there's a short film category at the Oscars that you can submit your films in. We love watching your movies, raw or edited!!

Love nibbles,
Miss Sunshade

Sunshade said...

OMG I typed too slow, I'm second....

Love nibbles,
Miss Sunshade (watch me be third now)

WFT Nobby said...

Great advice Mango Momma, I'm just discovering iMovie and am totally with you as a convert to the MAC.
On editing etc. I always remember some advice I was given on a writing/communication course I did years ago, that you have to be prepared to 'kill your babies'! i.e. you might have written or shot something that you're particularly proud of and reluctant to use, but if it doesn't fit in with the overall piece, then it has to go.
PS We are still working on thinking of ways that Bertie resembles Mango.

Those Elgin Pugs said...

Hey deres big me's!!!
All dis movie talks... are yous planning on making a big hollywoods movie and needs body/stunt doubles???

Ummmmmm...hellos,... Me's yous dude!!!

Yous didn't has to go's trou all 'dats trouble in makin 'dat big post.. yous just could have sent me's a private e-mails dude!!

Have yous peeps contacts me's peeps!!

Laters big mes!!
Yous slightly smaller selfs!!
Anakin Man

Kapitein Haakje said...

oooh momma-mango we love the last photo!!! :D
raja was a pretty girl!! we love the video !

and thanks fur the info about the music
we love kevin mcleods music! hmmm maby sanne needs making a bib for him to say thanks BOL!!!

El'bow & Hauwii

Lola and also Franklin, too said...

Hmmmm. My Mom doesn't take movies at all. I have spoken to her about it but she says that we don't move long enough to bother. What can I say? We get bored and standing stock still and sniffing for squirrels is my favorite back yard activity. My nose keeps moving the whole time, though.

lotsa licks, Lola

Maggie Mae and Max said...

Tank youz fur all da good advices on making da movies. :)

WOofs and Licks,
Maggie Mae

PeeS We luvs da last picture too

Frankie Furter and Ernie said...

I think squirrls have invaded the blogs again.
I am working on my Mango wanna be thingy. Will have it up in a day or two.

♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥ said...

Great post, Mango Momma. We love our Macbook and would love to have an iMac too, maybe one day. We use iMovie too but have lots to learn. YOu gave some great tips. We got lucky when we did our video tribute to Dakota - some magic worked by the mac to make that music fit well.

Great last photo - bet you really love it too.

Woos ~ Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara

Mack said...

Mom is always talking about how much she loves the music on your videos. I'll have to tell her about his website.


The Adventures of the LLB Gang said...

What great tips!! I am looking forward to getting a MAC this holiday season and CAN'T WAIT.

Thanks again for sharing!

Two French Bulldogs said...

Yikes we better not steal nothing! Thanks for all those words
Benny & Lily

Jans Funny Farm said...

Great post! I always envy those with good music on their videos but I haven't made any with music yet because I don't have the right to use any. Will have to check out your suggestion about where to find some. Thanks.

Two French Bulldogs said...

Pee S we entered your contest. It is on our blog today
Benny & Lily

brooke said...

I like using the Windows Movie Maker (on PC) it's super easy to use. But Jason bought me a little video camera and the videos don't come out in a format that can be used in Windows Movie Maker... it comes out in an Apple program and since I have a PC I can't seem to edit them anymore.

BTW we went to the park this weekend and saw a BIG boy that looked like a fatty version of Raja. He was really cute and had a surprising amount of energy!

NAK and The Residents of The Khottage Now With KhattleDog! said...

Maybe The DOH khould have a movie khlass at The Estate sometime!

Furry excellent suggestions - after all, one The Beast arrives, THOSE sounds will need to be edited out!

Furry interesting videos too!

PeeEssWoo: Dearest long khan watch my floof and 'loons?

Rufus and Indie said...

Your movies are always great to watch! I think it's because the actors are so cute!^^

Oskar said...

Great info, Mango momma, thank you for sharing. We love the last photo!

Here is my link to the I Wanna Be Like Mango Contest!

Nubbin' wiggles,

Peppy Sheppys said...

Your momma's directions were most instructive. We think you make excellent music selections and do a wonderful job with the editings.

We were curious about that last video, in particular the weird little thing harassing the quite lovely Dale. It was stripey like a Mango but annoying like a labradude. What WAS that teeny tiny thing?

Sheps w/Pep

ps. OUR ape? Have a life?? BOL! Surely you jest!

houndstooth said...

What a great post! I'd picked up some of these things on my own, but it definitely made me think of some new things. I wish a Mac was in my future!

I was totally distracted by Mango's cuteness there at the end!

D.K. Wall said...

Excellent post. You know we are a Mac fan (after years of making fun of it because it was not a "real" computer - please. It does everything my PC does and much more, except catch viruses and crash and. . .) and we love iMovie.

Since EVERYONE reads Mango, I thought I would rant. I wish the music owners would figure out someway for us to pay some small royalty for using music in videos. My mother used to have both ASCAP and BMI licenses because of her work as a choreographer (though still securing permission and paying additional royalties to use music in performances). The fee structure is not set up at all for those of us who create a video that a couple of hundred people may see. BUT we have the ability to introduce people to a new artist or song and I, for one, would gladly pay a few dollars per video for the right to use certain songs (I don't expect to use them for free). There is no way to do that, that I know of.

Oh, well.

Kari in Alaska said...

that was lots of words. my head hurts


Jed and Abby in MerryLand said...

Thanks for the seminar, Mango Momma! Our mama has taken a small step and gotten us a google account so we can leave comments on your bloggie instead of disturbing her with private emails. BTW, we love your Imperial Purple dog cave, fully befitting an Imperial-size doggie such as yourself.

Scruffy, Lacie and Stanley's Place said...

Um...we have no idea what the momma is speaking Mumsie is far to lazy to ever do ANYTHING creative like that...

We watched the first youtube video...Angus looks a tad stiff in the joints, but if he was was probably cuz that Puppy Landshark Mango kept bein' his shadow...tis funny to see Mango LOOKING UP to a Dale.

All dogs should look up to Dales.

I'm just sayin'....

So far Lacie hasn't seen Scruff's and my entry for your contest. That may be a good thing.

Dale slaps...paws of course,


Golden Woofs! SUGAR said...

Woof! Woof! Oh MY ... Thanks fellow MAC User. Yes mom uses imovie too but she only uses it with photos. Our camera video capabilities needs to be reconfigured in order to work for the imovie. So mom uses the Flip video n just upload it directly to you tube. It's easier but she would like to edit it ... Do you know how to upload n edit flip videos in imovie? Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

Gus, Louie and Callie said...

Great movie Mom thanks for all the awesome info..

Big Sloppy Kisses
Gus, Louie and Callie

Golden Samantha said...

Oh my Dog! Wish I had a Mac! Thank you so much for all the great tips - y'oughtta write one of those books on movie edits for Dum Dums! Great illustrations of your points and I so totally agree with you about credits for musicians - I used to make my living as one and your admonishments there made me smile with gratitude! Thanks again and when I get a Mac (or youtube gets it together with their new editing stuff), maybe I can begin trying to do this - you are genius - have always loved your vids!
Sammie and Avalon's Mom

Martha said...

That was a great post. We just love making videos and completely agree that 'short' is best!
We do enjoy videos with music too.
Well done.
Martha and Bailey xxx

ocmist said...

Very good tutorial with great examples. Grammy from Corgi Country